Malcolm McDowell………Dr. Samuel Loomis
Sheri Moon Zombie………Deborah Myers
Tyler Mane………Michael Myers
Scout Taylor-Compton………Laurie Strode
Brad Dourif………Sheriff Lee Brackett
Danielle Harris………Annie Brackett
William Forsythe………Ronnie White
Daeg Faerch………Michael Myers (Age 10)
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2007 Rating: Unrated Running Time: 121 Minutes on 2 discs
Unless you’ve lived inside a box for the past thirty years, then you’ve heard of Halloween and know who Michael Myers is. No I’m not speaking just of the holiday or that usually unfunny schmuck from Austin Powers. Michael Myers is for lack of a better word, the boogeyman. In 1978, John Carpenter introduced us to Haddonfield, Illinois and inside the life of the silent, but extremely deadly, killer. We were introduced to his baby sister Laurie, his closest friend Dr. Loomis, and over time the little girl that seemed to have his genes running through her. But we never quite found out the real deep reasoning behind why he was the way he was. In 2007, director Rob Zombie decided to lend a hand.
As a child, Michael Myers seemed like a little kid that was normal to some extent, but also was incredibly bothered by something. It could have been a number of things including being bullied at school, his mother’s abusive boyfriend, or the fact that his loving mother stripped for a living. Because of these factors, young Michael liked to hide his shame and fear behind masks. Masks that would cover his face and let him be someone else while he had them on. He could hide from the world and any actions that would come from his hands; he would not be responsible for.
Michael knew that the only ones that truly cared about him were his mother and his baby sister Laurie whom he nicknamed Baby Boo. So in order for him and those that loved him to live in peace, Michael took it upon himself to get rid of those troubling his life. Going on a massive killing spree, the young boy took care of the problems that plagued him and reassured his mother that it was over. Yet it was far from over for it was merely just beginning.
He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and put under the guidance of Dr. Samuel Loomis. Dr. Loomis made it a point to befriend Michael and understand what was going on inside his head. The good doctor stayed with the boy for many years since he was going to be confined in that hospital for a long time to come. After some time though, Michael had grown up and still had things to finish back home so he knew it was time to escape. Taking care of some guards, doctors, and others along the way, Michael Myers was free and on his way back to Haddonfield. Back to get rid of the last remaining member of his family, his baby sister Laurie.
As a long time fan of John Carpenter and the original Halloween film, I’m not going to say that I wasn’t looking forward to this. Halloween is one of the best horror films ever and an all-time favorite of my own. Rob Zombie captured my attention with House Of 1,000 Corpses and the follow-up film, The Devil’s Rejects. It is obvious that Zombie’s work is not for everyone and is an acquired taste, but let’s just consider me someone that has the stomach for it.
When I viewed the film in the theatre, my mind focused a lot on how graphic and gory it was, so I’m not entirely sure what was changed or added in that respect. It seems as if the film itself is only two minutes longer then the theatrical version, but some obvious differences are noticeable. There are a few added scenes in the hospital as Dr. Loomis speaks to a young Michael. Later on there are a lot of added appearances by an older Michael. And the biggest difference is how Michael actually escapes from Smith’s Grove. In the theatrical version, he is being transported by some guards (one being Leslie Easterbrook) and overtakes them. In this cut, he escapes through a much more graphic way including a rape scene that wasn’t even mentioned before. The scene with Easterbrook and the other guards seems to have been cut completely.
Zombie’s version of Halloween has been built up for almost a year as not a remake but a “reimagining,” and that’s exactly what it was. He didn’t take the first Carpenter film and just redo it with new actors and modern technology. No, he took the story of Michael Myers and opened up a whole new chapter of it. Going back in time and seeing Michael as a young boy drawing, going to school, trick-or-treating, and even just talking opened up entire new dimensions of the character I’ve watched for close to three decades. Now there was even more of a history to him that showed his compassionate and loving side instead of just…instead of just…well, instead of just a blank stare.
It’s quite difficult to determine if “true fans” of the franchise are going to be disappointed or love this film. You see, I’m a hardcore Halloween fan and in my opinion, this film would easily be one of the top three of all time. Yet there are those fans that are going to hate seeing such horror mastery messed with. From one horror fanatic to millions more, give Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween a chance. He wasn’t trying to replace Carpenter’s visions but simply elaborate on it and give Michael Myers a deeper personality and history then he’s ever had before. If anything, Zombie’s mindset should make you go back and watch the first two Halloween films and realize how good they are before all the crap came spewing along.
The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and looks great. Oddly enough this film isn’t shown all in shadow or with only darker colors. It incorporates a lot of bright images early on when Michael is younger and slowly progress to more darkness as he ages. Everything can be seen clearly with a very sharp picture that somewhat gives a feeling of the older Carpenter films.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and sounds fantastic. All dialogue can be heard perfectly without ever being overpowered by music or sound effects. This is good for the first half of the film that is more dialogue-driven with Michael at home and then in the hospital. Later on the slashing sounds of death along with the traditional Halloween music really comes to the forefront.
Audio Commentary – Director Rob Zombie is all by himself and lets us know that he will “talk nonstop throughout the movie.” He gives an incredible amount of extra information that isn’t given in any of the other special features or in the film itself. Solo commentaries aren’t really for me, but hearing Zombie and how truly excited he seems about his work is enjoyable. His voice never really changes and is quite monotone, but you can actually tell how much he put into Halloween. For every single scene, he spills forth a ton of info that really shows how deep the film ended up being.
A few things I never noticed, or knew, are that the Myers’ house in this film was only about two blocks from the original house. Also, Hannah Hall who plays Judith Myers was also young Jenny in Forrest Gump. My, how things change. This is really a great commentary to listen to so I highly recommend it.
Deleted Scenes – Fifteen deleted scenes with optional commentary from Zombie. A lot of the scenes are nothing that would have added anything at all to the film and would have merely been transitions from one to the next. Almost all of them have to deal with Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, but nothing important. One of the best things is that Zombie actually lets viewers know where the scenes belonged in the film so you can get more of a general idea where they would have fit in.
Alternate Ending – This ending doesn’t change entirely from the one in the film, but a few aspects are turned around. Zombie does optional commentary and explains nicely as to why he went with the ending he did. After seeing both, I actually prefer this ending to the one they ultimately decided to go with.
Bloopers – Ten minutes of messed up lines and constant laughter. Malcolm McDowell takes center stage here though as he just seems to be a foul-mouthed, perverted, old man. He is in almost every single outtake and is saying some of the strangest things even comparing someone to a Nazi. Worth checking out even if just to see Sheri Moon Zombie a bit more.
The Many Masks Of Michael Myers – This is a six and a half minute look at what is possibly the most important aspect of this horror icon, his mask. Zombie talks about how the only thing that was really brought from the original film was the look of Michael Myers. The special FX guys discuss what it was like making the different masks and then Tyler Mane talks about how it was to slip into the role once the mask went over his head.
Re-Imagining Halloween – Here is the basic “making of” featurette that is in three parts and runs a total of close to twenty minutes. “From Camera To Screen” has Zombie mostly discussing how he came up with the idea talked to John Carpenter about bringing Halloween back to life. Carpenter gave his blessing into which Zombie took it to his own level and made his own film instead of simply copying the original. Quite amazing how he compares Halloween to The Constant Gardner.
The second segment is entitled “The Production Design” and has some more of the backstage guys talking about everything that went into making Halloween come into creation. The costumes, the different sets, and even some of the camera angles are discussed to try and achieve Zombie’s vision. It’s really cool learning how the film was shot in California in February meaning that a lot of Fall-colored leaves and trees needed to be brought in to make it seem like late October.
“Makeup FX, Props, and Wardrobe” is the final segment that details the death scenes most of all. Blood squirting, knife slices, and gunshot wounds are just a few of the things that needed to be made to look as real as possible in order to be believable. I enjoyed seeing Zombie walking around one scene (the Strode’s living room) and just knocking random things on the mantle over to make it seem more disheveled. All the props like guns and cars are talked about and how they needed to look authentic and not like everyday common toys. The wardrobe segment is self-explanatory and finishes out a really good featurette.
Meet The Cast – In one of the best special features in the entire two-disc set, here you’ll meet the entire cast. Clocking in at eighteen and a half minutes; every character is introduced and then discussed by the actor who played them, co-stars, and Rob Zombie as to why he picked them. This is some really interesting stuff here and needs to be checked out.
Casting Sessions – Fifteen different casting auditions from some of the actors in the film including Danielle Harris, Clint Howard, and Daeg Faerch.
Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test (Laurie Strode) – This is basically what you get in the casting sessions but stretched out to about eight minutes. Taylor-Compton goes through a few scenes with Danielle Harris.
Trailers – Death Proof, Planet Terror, 1408, and The Furnace
The Inside Pulse
Fan or not of Rob Zombie; if you’re a horror fan then you need to grab a copy of this immediately. The film is far superior to any variations of remakes done in the past for other horror films with a lot of differences to keep it separate from the original. The special features are plentiful and a lot of fun to watch. All of the case seemed to truly enjoy making the film and really got into their parts. It’s nice to see so much behind the scenes stuff included and not have it be one minute here and three minutes there. These are some serious featurettes that give close to two hours of extra footage not including the audio commentary which is awesome in itself. Michael Myers’ history takes some big steps here and opens up a brand new book, but Halloween also does something else. It opens the book right after it closes it. Zombie made it a point to assure the public that no sequels could be made here considering there were already eight other films in the franchise. He did what he wanted to do and that’s that. Time to move on. A round of applause for you Rob on another well done film and for keeping The Shape alive and then dead without ever actually killing him. Well, you know what I mean.
The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Halloween Unrated Director’s Cut